How Will The Baltimore Orioles Build Their Front-Office?
Tomorrow and Saturday the National and American League Championship Series will begin in Milwaukee, and Boston respectively.
In Baltimore, Orioles fans are spending each day wondering how the Front Office will be built.
Officially the O’s 2018 season ended September 30th. Realistically the O’s were 15 games under .500 by the middle of May. By the end of June, 36 games under. By the end of July, 43 under.
That is to say, the O’s season obviously ended quite a few months before September 30th.
Since the 30th, we’ve seen the official news that Dan Duquette would not be back as EVP of Baseball Operations, and that Buck Showalter would not be back as Manager.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
I wasn’t shocked by Duquette’s departure, but I was surprised.
Surprised because the O’s had him deliver the messaging in July about the forthcoming changes in organizational philosophy. That there would be more internal investment into the Baseball Operations Department, inclusive of International Scouting.
Our point at the time was if you were effectively turning a page as an organization, it made logical sense for that announced change to come from someone who would be working to enact those changes.
If it had already been decided internally that Duquette would not return, it was a poor decision to have him serve as that mouth-piece. They should have parted with him, and the messaging should have been delivered by John or Lou Angelos.
If Duquette’s fate had not been determined, what was supposed to be gleaned in August and September that would help you make an evaluation on his future?
I’d argue there was nothing that could happen in August or September that should have changed what ever internal decision had been made on Duquette. If you were going to part with him, it should have been done Months ago, allowing you to be further along in the process of determining who would assume the leadership mantle going forward.
Whatever, I digress.
It has been mentioned in several locales – including this article by MASN’s Roch Kubatko – the Orioles might be hiring not only Duquette’s replacement (Executive VP of Baseball Operations / GM); but a President of Baseball Operations.
I know the O’s have not always operated logically, but basic logic says if you are going to hire a President of Baseball Operations; that hire needs to come first.
This 2015 Sports Business Daily article outlines how this title and Front Office structure has become more prevalent.
We’re talking about guys who are not up and coming prospective GM’s, but accomplished GM’s.
They set the tone and direction for the Baseball Ops department, but the GM runs the day-to-day show.
They also are the direct conduit to Ownership.
Who could fit?
Jed Hoyer is the EVP, General Manager with the Cubs.
Farhan Zaidi is the General Manager with the Dodgers.
Alex Anthopoulous is the EVP, General Manager with the Braves.
Bringing anyone from that trio in as President, would be a win for the Orioles.
Who else could make sense?
John Hart? The 70-year old started his professional career with the Orioles, before becoming a highly successful General Manager with the Indians, and later the Rangers.
Most recently Hart served as the President of Baseball Operations for Atlanta.
His tenure there helped lead to the success the Braves found this year, but given how his tenure ended; I’m not sure how realistic it would be to bring him in.
I’ve never been a huge proponent of the Orioles hiring Cal Ripken in any position of authority. No doubt about his acumen, just a thought if you hired him…. you’d probably eventually be in position of having to fire him, and that could be ugly.
If you were going to hire a President without the track-record of previously being a successful GM; Ripken could make some sense.
You could do worse than him being the face of the Orioles Baseball Ops.
You could believe that he would be focused on building up the Orioles Minor League Operations.
Cal could set big-picture vision, and then have a GM underneath capable of handling the day-to-day and enacting that plan.
It also figures to be a position which would interest Cal.
Once you’ve made that hire, then attention can turn to the EVP of Baseball Ops / GM.
At Baltimore Sports and Life (BSL), we’ve profiled Mike Elias, Jason McLeod, Josh Byrnes, and Amiel Sawdaye.
Anyone from that quartet would generally be lauded by the baseball community as strong hires.
In June, we also looked at Ned Colletti. (Maybe Colletti emerges as an option at President?)
Baltimore Baseball listed who they saw as the options.
So did PressBox.
There is no shortage of possibilities.
Everyone has their favorites.
If you are going to hire a President; they need to be the one who makes the EVP / GM hire.
Who replaces Buck?
That needs to be the choice of the EVP / GM.
At the message board, I listed out the Front Office compositions of Boston, Houston, the LA Dodgers, and Milwaukee.
If the Orioles want to change how they’ve operated, and show the world (particularly their fan-base) that their philosophies have changed; they could do that by aggressively pursuing the Front Office talent of these organizations (and others that are recognized as quality teams).
In this sense, I’m not just talking about the hires at the top. I’m talking about identifying the personnel who are in-line for promotions and currently blocked within their existing organizations.
– They have a Senior Analyst, Baseball Research & Development… and 3 Analysts (Spencer Bingol, Joe McDonald, Dan Meyer).
Target one of those three.
– Asst. Director Player Development: Brian Abraham
– Asst Director International Scouting: Adrian Lorenzo
– Asst Director Professional Scouting: Harrison Slutsky
– Asst Director Amateur Scouting: Paul Toboni
– Asst. Player Acquisition: Brian Rodgers
– Analyst, Research & Development: Colin Wyers
– Analyst, Amateur Scouting: Ronit Shah
– Supervisor, Latin American Development: Caridad Cabrera
– Scouting Supervisor, Latin America: Luis Marquez
– Asst. Director, Player Development: William Rhymes
– Asst. Director, Mil Operations: Matt McGrath
– Coordinator, International Scouting: Francisco Camps
– Coordinator, Player Development: Andrew MacPhail
– Assistant Farm Director Eduardo Brizuela
– Assistant Director – Amateur Scouting Tim McIlvaine
– Analyst – Baseball Research and Development Ethan Bein
– Regional Supervisor Josh Belovsky
– Regional Supervisor Dan Nellum
– Senior Advisor – International Scouting Manny Batista
– Latin America Crosschecker Luis Pérez
– Venezuela Scout Supervisor and Player Development Advisor Fernando Veracierto
– Central America Supervisor Jairo Castillo
– Scout Supervisor – Dominican Republic Rodolfo Rosario
I’m not pretending to know these names, and their respective strengths and weaknesses.
What I know, is that just based on titles, they have some authority, and are blocked at the next level up. Pursue them. Bring them into the O’s organization. This would quickly allow the O’s to make-up some of the distance between how they’ve operated, and the games’ best organizations.
Do I expect the O’s to have a Winter where they land Farhan Zaidi as President, Amiel Sawdaye as EVP of Baseball Operations, and raid other organizations for the additional layers of leadership?
I’m not Charlie Brown thinking today is the day I’m going to kick Lucy’s football.
But it would be nice to be wrong.